This week, our Office Spotlight focuses on Sperry Van Ness | Property Investment Associates, LLC based in Birmingham, MI (Detroit metropolitan area).
1. What has been your strategy for growing your firm and also your market share?
A few of our key strategies that allow us to be strongly poised for future growth and should assist other SVN offices include:
- Knowledge: We feel knowledge is power! We have probably the best access to information in our Detroit and Michigan market than most of our local competitors. Not only do we have data supplied by the normal informational sources as Real Capital Analytics, CoStar, LoopNet, SVN market updates and SVN training, but this knowledge is supplemented by over 25 trained local area product type specialists connected nationally with 60 other offices. This is through our adjacent office “partner” Integra Realty Resources, one of the largest appraisal firms in our local market and the country.
- Technology: We have a great toolbox of all the latest technology in commercial real estate – Tablets/Smartphones, commercial property apps, databases, BuildOut ™ (SVNIC is an enterprise user of BuildOut’s single point of entry online marketing and tracking system), SVN app (SVN Connect), etc. With this technology, we can operate from anywhere and effectively market our services to and for our client.
- Website: We have a highly active local Detroit metro and Michigan website with blogs, news and listings supplemented by online/real time Twitter feeds.
- Social Media: We are active in social media with thousands of followers on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook (currently more than 8,000 connections). This provides the added advantages of keeping us instantly updated with current market trends; providing great search engine optimization; and giving us an exceptional marketing tool for maintaining high visibility and close relationships.
- Individual Visibility: We are highly visible both locally and nationally not only on the internet but on a personal one-on-one basis. We are members of numerous local and national boards and committees, including individuals on our team serving as president of the Commercial Board of Realtors, as committee members with the Counselors of Real Estate of the National Association of Realtors, on the boards of local and national CEO/business groups and the boards/committees of many non-profit groups. All this is supplemented with speaking engagements, publications, articles, press releases, and other outreach.
- Connections: Our 40 years of strategic networking have led to us being connected to most of the movers and shakers on the local and national levels.
- National and International Access: We achieve national and international access through our association with Sperry Van Ness International Corporation (175 locations nationwide), Integra Realty Resources (60 locations nationwide), the Counselors of Real Estate (1,100 high level executives in most markets) and our national CEO group (80 locations nationwide).
- Location: We are located in Birmingham, Michigan, which is a north-central suburb of the Detroit metropolitan area. Our strategic and central location allows us to reach most of the Detroit metropolitan area in 20 minutes. That’s easy access to more than 4.5 million people!
- Demographics: Being in the Birmingham/Bloomfield market allows us to be near the wealthiest individuals in Michigan. These are the people that can purchase real estate on an investment basis or CEOs and high level executives that can lease or purchase properties for their companies.
2. What are some of the unique activities you do to motivate your team?
Enthusiasm! Motivation for us comes from liking what we do and liking the people we do it with. It has been said that if you love what you do, you don’t have to work a day in your life. It is always exciting, for example, to deal with the top ½% of wealth in the population and work with them to achieve their goals, whether it is for investment purposes or helping them with their companies. We have access to all the credentials and people needed to solve our clients’ problems and properly market their properties (e.g.: Counselors of Real Estate (CRE’s) , CCIM’s, MAI’s, CPA’s, CPM’s, MBA’s, SIORs, etc.). We pride ourselves on working and “playing” with our clients to achieve together what we consider the four key elements of a successful great life: family, faith, business and social.
3. What’s been the biggest challenge on how you run your business over the last few years?
Our biggest challenge was the difficulties faced by the Detroit market from 2008 to 2011. The auto industry was in the worst shape it had ever been in, impacting the health of local businesses. This was compounded by one of the worst real estate markets nationally. Since then, there has been a tremendous turnaround in the auto industry and the area, causing a large potential of new business and many outstanding opportunities both for us as an office, and for our clients. Now our challenge will be to close new business, which can take some time to finalize, and replenish what was previously a deteriorated cash flow.
4. How many Associates/Staff did you have when you joined SVN? How many (in total) do you have now?
Our SVN office’s intent has been to maintain quality not quantity. We may not be the biggest but we are one of the best! As mentioned above, we use everything possible, including the latest technology, to give the best service to our clients. We subcontract out to specialists when necessary to reduce unnecessary overhead. We have adjacent office space with Integra Realty, which not only provides quality information and synergy, but great conference facilities, audio visual, printers, administration, copy machines, distribution services and a great professional office setting.
Sperry Van Ness | Property Investment Associates, LLC Birmingham, MI
Robert Pliska, Managing Director of Sperry Van Ness/Property Investment Associates, LLC